Partners start funding a waste-to-chemistry project in Rotterdam

These investments - for detail-engineering, the establishment of a special joint-venture and the conclusion of the authorisation procedure - regard an amount of €9 million. The consortium intends to take the final decision on the approx. €200 million investment for the project later this year and has appointed the Rabobank as adviser for the funding process.

The realisation of the project is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, which is working on new mechanisms to promote the up-scaling of the new technology to stimulate the transition to a low-carbon economy. The municipality Rotterdam, the Province of Zuid-Holland and InnovationQuarter, the regional development company, offer support as well.

The installation is able to process 360,000 tonnes of waste into 220,000 tonnes or 270 million litres 'green’ methanol. This exceeds the total annual amount of waste of 700,000 households and reduces the CO2 emissions by about 300,000 tonnes.

“This is an important milestone for the project and a major step forward to a sustainable and circular chemical industry,” says Marco Waas, director RD&I of AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals and chairman of the consortium. “The agreement comes at the best possible moment, when you look at the current challenges in the field of plastic recycling in Europa. We can process non-recyclable waste into methanol, an essential raw material for a large number of everyday products, such as transport fuel. On the one hand, methanol can be used in the existing supply chain to replace fossil fuels. On the other, this has the advantage that no CO2 is emitted by incinerating waste.

The installation with the exclusive technology of the Canadian Enerkem will be realised in the Botlek-area of the port of Rotterdam. Non-recyclable mixed waste, among which plastic, will first be processed into synthesis gas and then into clean methanol for the chemical and the transport industry. Methanol currently still comes from natural gas or coal. The factory will be fitted with two production lines. That is double the capacity of the large-scale installation of Enerkem in Edmonton, Canada. The installation in Rotterdam will profit from the port of Rotterdam's hyper-modern infrastructure and from the cooperation with Air Liquide and AkzoNobel for the supply of the necessary oxygen and hydrogen. AkzoNobel is also a customer for the 'green’ methanol.

Rinke Zonneveld, director InnovationQuarter:

Zuid-Holland wants to be leading in the transformation into a new circular economy. The waste-to-chemistry project is a good step in the right direction. It also offers opportunities for new businesses in the field of waste processing and reinforcement of the chemical cluster in the port of Rotterdam.